The chairman for the constitutional, legal and parliamentary affairs committee of parliament, Ben Abdalla, has asked Ghanaians to blame the country’s civil society organisations for the recent delays in the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) bill into law.
The much-awaited passage of the bill into law, according to the majority leader and minister for parliamentary affairs, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu will come off Friday, March 22.
Speaking on the floor of parliament Wednesday he stated that “the matter of policy has been sorted out” thus nothing prevents them from bringing matters to closure in reference to the passage of the bill into law.
It is now unlikely following pressure from CSOs, especially the RTI Coalition for their proposals to be incorporated into the bill before it is passed.
This, compelled the Speaker of parliament Prof Mike Oquaye to instruct the removal of the RTI bill from the House’s order paper on Thursday.
The move, he said was to allow further consultations and “other viewpoints on this matter.”
But in reaction to the Speaker’s directive, the chairman for the constitutional, legal and parliamentary affairs committee of parliament charged Ghanaians to hold the CSOs responsibility for the House’s inability to get the bill passed into law.
He said: “The executive has done its part. This parliament, we have also done our part. But it’s the Coalition to the Right to Information…they are saying that they don’t want it to be passed the way we have done it.
“So the public should take it that it is not Ghana’s Parliament that’s trying not to pass the RTI.”
The RTI bill was laid before Parliament by the Deputy Attorney General Joseph Kpemka Dindiok March last year and it has been over two decades since the first RTI bill was drafted under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs, IEA and more than a decade since the Executive arm of government in 2002 drafted the first RTI bill.
The draft Executive Bill was subsequently reviewed in 2003, 2005 and 2007 but was never laid in Parliament until February 5, 2010.
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